Steven Spielberg's Name Once Meant Something To Me
by, 06-13-2012 at 08:07 PM (595 Views)
Let me get one thing clear before I proceed. I love Steven Spielberg. How much? Well, I have been packing on the pounds the last few years so that I can develop the perfect birthing hips on the chance that he wants my love child.
Steven Spielberg helped mould my childhood. And I can argue that he has had great influence over my adult years as well.
If there is an interview with Steven on television – I watch it. If there is a new movie coming out with Steven directing – I am there opening day. To me, he is legend. He is unmatched in his contribution to film. In short, he is God.
Or, at least he was.
Don’t get me wrong. Spielberg still pounds out quality films when he is calling the shots from behind the camera. War Horse wasn’t his best, but even his misses are better than most filmmaker’s hits.
Having Spielberg’s name attached to a project guaranteed both my interest and my time investment in screening the film at my earliest inconvenience.
Back in the early 1980’s, that meant getting excited about The Goonies, Young Sherlock Holmes and The Money Pit. Spielberg didn’t direct any of these titles, but having the words “Steven Spielberg Presents…” above a film’s title on a movie poster meant something. It meant that I would be there on opening night. Innerspace, *batteries not includes, Dad, Joe vs. the Volcano. The list goes on and on.
But then, something happened. By the mid-1990’s, Spielberg’s name seemed to be attached to any project with a budget over $50 million. The Flintstones, Casper, Twister, Deep Impact, The Mask of Zorro. All of which he took an Executive Producer credit. Every month there seemed to be a new film released that would promote Spielberg’s name as if he had anything to do with the project.
Things got worse when Spielberg started to lend his name to television shows. Animaniacs, Pink and the Brain, Taken, Into the West, The United States of Tara, Terra Nova, The River, Smash. His latest is Falling Skies which is about to enter into its second season on TNT.
In film, it’s even more convoluted. Men in Black III, Cowboys & Aliens, Real Steel and all three of the Transformers movies flashed his name across the screen in a loud and boastful way of suggesting that the man who brought us Indiana Jones, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. was somehow influential in the making of these endeavours.
The end result is that I just don’t get excited when I see his name beside any other credit other than director. I didn’t give Terra Nova more than 20 minutes of my time. And I have yet to watch an episode of Falling Skies. I did watch The United States of Tara, but it had nothing to do with Steven in the front credits.
Things don’t seem to be slowing down either. A new television mini-series titled The Tailsman has Steven on as an Executive Producer. So does Jurassic Park IV, Real Steel 2, the next adventure of Tin Tin and the fourth in the Transformers series.
To say the Spielberg’s magic is gone would not adequately represent my feelings. But to say that Spielberg’s name has been exploited and commercialized to a point where it no longer has impact is exactly where I reluctantly find myself today.